September 26, 2020
Jesus departed from the temple area and was going on His way when His disciples came up to Him to call His attention to the buildings of the temple and point them out to Him. But He answered them, “Do you see all these? Truly I tell you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
While He was seated on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately and said, “Tell us, when will this take place, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end (the completion, the consummation) of the age?”
Jesus answered them, “Be careful that no one misleads you [deceiving you and leading you into error]. For many will come in (on the strength of) My name [appropriating the name which belongs to Me], saying, ‘I am the Christ (the Messiah),’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened or troubled, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in place after place; all this is but the beginning [the early pains] of the birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish].
Then they will hand you over to suffer affliction and tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended and repelled and will begin to distrust and desert [Him Whom they ought to trust and obey] and will stumble and fall away and betray one another and pursue one another with hatred.
And many false prophets will rise up and deceive and lead many into error. And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity, but he who endures to the end will be saved. And this good news of the kingdom (the Gospel) will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then will come the end.
So when you see the appalling sacrilege [the abomination that astonishes and makes desolate], spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the Holy Place–let the reader take notice and ponder and consider and heed [this]–[Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11.] Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; let him who is on the housetop not come down and go into the house to take anything; and let him who is in the field not turn back to get his overcoat. And alas for the women who are pregnant and for those who have nursing babies in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation (affliction, distress, and oppression) such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now–no, and never will be [again]. [Dan. 12:1; Joel 2:2.] And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would endure and survive, but for the sake of the elect (God’s chosen ones) those days will be shortened.
If anyone says to you then, ‘Behold, here is the Christ (the Messiah)!’ or, ‘There He is!’ – do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise, and they will show great signs and wonders so as to deceive and lead astray, if possible, even the elect (God’s chosen ones). See, I have warned you beforehand. So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness (desert)’ – do not go out there; if they tell you, ‘Behold, He is in the secret places or inner rooms’–do not believe it. For just as the lightning flashes from the east and shines and is seen as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Wherever there is a fallen body (a corpse), there the vultures (or eagles) will flock together. [Job 39:30.]
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. [Isa. 13:10; 34:4; Joel 2:10, 11; Zeph. 1:15.] Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn and beat their breasts and lament in anguish, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory [in brilliancy and splendor]. [Dan. 7:13; Rev. 1:7.] And He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect (His chosen ones) from the four winds, [even] from one end of the universe to the other. [Isa. 27:13; Zech. 9:14.] From the fig tree learn this lesson: as soon as its young shoots become soft and tender and it puts out its leaves, you know of a surety that summer is near. So also when you see these signs, all taken together, coming to pass, you may know of a surety that He is near, at the very doors.
Truly I tell you, this generation (the whole multitude of people living at the same time, in a definite, given period) will not pass away till all these things taken together take place. Sky and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. But of that [exact] day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For just as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, [men] marrying and [women] being given in marriage, until the [very] day when Noah went into the ark, and they did not know or understand until the flood came and swept them all away–so will be the coming of the Son of Man. [Gen. 6:5-8; 7:6-24.] At that time two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the hand mill; one will be taken and one will be left.
Watch therefore [give strict attention, be cautious and active], for you do not know in what kind of a day [whether a near or remote one] your Lord is coming. But understand this: had the householder known in what [part of the night, whether in a night or a morning] watch the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have allowed his house to be undermined and broken into. You also must be ready therefore, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him. Who then is the faithful, thoughtful, and wise servant, whom his master has put in charge of his household to give to the others the food and supplies at the proper time? Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) is that servant whom, when his master comes, he will find so doing. I solemnly declare to you, he will set him over all his possessions.
But if that servant is wicked and says to himself, My master is delayed and is going to be gone a long time, and begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with the drunken, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour of which he is not aware, and will punish him [cut him up by scourging] and put him with the pretenders (hypocrites); there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.”